Statewide Operation Medicine Drop Collects Record Number Of Potentially Dangerous Medications

RALEIGH — Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey is pleased to announce the 2018 statewide Operation Medicine Drop/Take Back Event was the most successful medication take-back campaign held in North Carolina since coordinated take-back efforts began in 2010.

In total, a record 32,247 pounds of unused prescription medications were delivered to a state-approved incinerator to be destroyed Wednesday, May 2.

The number of pills collected during this year’s event equals approximately 24.2 million dosage units.

“Operation Medicine Drop saves lives,” Commissioner Causey said. “I applaud the agencies running this year’s events, and I thank the public for doing their part to keep potentially addictive drugs out of the wrongful hands of children, teenagers, adults with addiction problems, and out of local water supplies, which is where they end up if they are flushed down the drain or down the toilet.”

Operation Medicine Drop is a partnership of Safe Kids North Carolina (within the N.C. Department of Insurance), State Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Agency, the N.C. Dept. of Justice, and local law enforcement agencies.

During this year’s statewide Operation Medicine Drop tour and the DEA’s recent Take-Back event, hundreds of North Carolinians removed dangerous medications from their homes by taking the prescription pills to various take-back events or by utilizing permanent drop boxes at designated safe locations like drug stores or law enforcement centers.

Since 2010, Operation Medicine Drop campaigns have successfully achieved the following:

  • Collected nearly 106 million pills
  • Supported over 3000 events
  • Serviced more than 250 drop boxes

The opioid epidemic is a state and national crisis with an average of four North Carolinians who die per day from an opioid overdose. Forty eight percent of those deaths involve prescription opioids.

Medications are the leading cause of child poisoning, with more than 67,000 children going to an emergency room for medicine poisoning each year, according to a study by Safe Kids Worldwide. That’s one child every eight minutes.

To help prevent poisonings when taking care of children, follow these tips:

  • Store and lock all medicines and household cleaning products in cabinets out of the reach and sight of children.
  • Keep children where you can see them at all times, even when you go to answer the door or telephone. Never leave young children alone.
  • Do not leave poisons on a counter or in an unlocked cabinet.
  • Never carry something that can be poisonous, such as a medicine, in a purse where children may find it.
  • Place safety latches on drawers or cabinets, and child-resistant caps on bottles, to keep poisons out of the hands of children.
  • Clean out your medicine cabinets of all unused and expired medications, and bring them to an Operation Medicine Drop event or permanent drop box near you for proper disposal

For more information about Operation Medicine Drop including a list of permanent drop-off locations, visit the Safe Kids section of the North Carolina Department of Insurance website at www.ncdoi.com/osfm/safekids/Default.aspx.